Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) on Thursday wrote that American workers were “sacrificed completely” by special interest groups like the National Council of La Raza and the Chamber of Commerce in the Senate’s immigration reform bill.
“The president, the Senate, and the House were all sent to Washington by American citizens,” Sessions wrote in an op-ed in The Hill. “Every decision we make must be guided by how it will impact the lives and livelihoods of the people who sent us here on their behalf. Yet in the current immigration debate, the American citizenry is the one group that has been almost entirely forgotten. While the Gang of Eight legislation provided special interest groups–from La Raza to the Chamber of Commerce–with their desired provisions, the core interests of the American people were sacrificed completely.”
Ultimately, Sessions argues, the bill–and the larger immigration debate taking hold in the House right now–is more focused on helping special interest groups and illegal immigrants than on helping out-of-work American citizens and legal immigrants find work.
“Over the next decade, the Senate plan provides roughly 30 million mostly lower-skill immigrants with permanent residency through green cards,” Sessions writes. “Less than 10 percent of these green cards are allocated through the Gang’s alleged merit system. Moreover, green-card holders will be able to petition in future years to bring in their relatives, including elderly parents, commencing a permanent expansion of chain migration unrelated to skill set.”
In addition to that massive influx of new green cards, Sessions notes that the Senate bill “doubles the number of non-immigrant guest workers admitted each year from approximately 600,000 today to an average of 1.2 million annually over the next decade.”
“In the first year of the bill, due to the inclusion of family members, the number will spike to 1.6 million, with only 7 percent doing agricultural work,” Sessions writes. “The other 93 percent will be hired to fill jobs in virtually every sector, including construction work, nursing, teaching at public schools, driving trucks, heavy equipment operators, mining and manufacturing.”
Meanwhile, Sessions points out, American workers are struggling to find work.
“At the same time, a record number of Americans have either left or been pushed out of the workforce,” Sessions writes. “Less than 60 percent of U.S. adults are working, a record 11 million are on disability, another record 47 million are on food stamps, median household net worth has dropped 60 percent since 2007, and inflation-adjusted wages are lower than in 1999. The number of people who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer is 4.3 million, and 11.3 million people–including nearly a quarter of all youths–are looking for a job but can’t find one.”
Sessions’ op-ed comes on the heels of a report from the Washington Examiner‘s Byron York, where a group of corporate special interests wrote to House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi demanding they grant amnesty soon. “The officials represent companies with a vast array of business interests: General Electric, The Walt Disney Company, Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, McDonald’s Corporation, The Wendy’s Company, Coca-Cola, The Cheesecake Factory, Johnson & Johnson, Verizon Communications, Hewlett-Packard, General Mills, and many more,” York wrote. “All want to see increases in immigration levels for low-skill as well as high-skill workers, in addition to a path to citizenship for the millions of immigrants currently in the U.S. illegally.”
While many of these same companies seek amnesty and increased legal immigration levels, York notes, they “are laying off thousands of workers.”